Bible in Schools battle on fast-track to the High Court

  • 17/06/2018

A long-fought battle over Bible lessons in schools has had a boost from the Human Rights Commission.

The Secular Education Network claims the Bible in Schools programme clashes with the Bill of Rights Act, and wants it gone.

Schools are allowed to hold religious instruction for up to an hour a week and 20 hours a year, outside of school opening hours. The vast majority that do only teach the Christian religion.

The Secular Education Network is waiting for its case to be heard at the Human Rights Review Tribunal.

Spokesperson David Hines says the commission is supporting a fast-track to the High Court.

"We've been sitting and waiting in the Human Rights Review Tribunal for 20 months, without any end time in view."

In a memo, the Human Rights Commission said "a delay of this nature is clearly contrary to the interests of justice" and "it is in the public interest that these questions of law are determined without further undue delay".

Mr Hines is hoping the case can be heard before the start of next year, but says the tribunal has a massive backlog of cases waiting to be heard.

"The more the parents fight against it, the more the schools kick back and say, 'This is part of our school programme.' It was never meant to be part of the school programme. They're becoming advocates basically for conservative Christianity."

Mr Hines says the Secular Education Network has compiled 772 pages of evidence.